Simply Being: Skittles and the Deer

CF and I were away for part of this past weekend, so my usual errand day got pushed to Sunday (which is my usual do things around the house day).  Needless to say, I felt a little overwhelmed–my “to do” list overflowed: buy groceries, use Target gift card for new kitchen dish drainer, stop by mom’s house, bake bread, do 3 loads of laundry, make more laundry soap, clean the kitchen, harvest tomatoes and peppers (and whatever other straggling veggies were out there), make dinner, etc etc.  Phew!  This is the kind of list that usually gets spread out over the whole weekend.  I was rushing everywhere and trying not to think about the school week starting in less than 24 hours.

Wanting to tick another item off the to-do list, I went to the veggie garden at my mother-in-law’s house.  CF was already there, working in his studio (which he built at his mother’s house years ago).  I was all worked up from running errands, but CF was relaxed and excited to introduce me to a new little friend: Skittles.

Well, he wasn’t named Skittles yet.  I came up with that one.  But I digress:

Skittles is a little orange feral cat that had taken up residence around the patio at my mother-in-law’s house.  He’s adorable, and looks a lot like the cat we had when I was a little girl–only our dear O.J. (Orange Juice) had green eyes, and Skittles’ are a honey-colored brown.  Anyway, CF has been courting this little cat for a while now.  I dubbed him Skittles because he is 1) Skittish, and 2) Little.   Though he’s feral, he needed a name because my mother-in-law is nothing if not a serious animal lover.  I’m guessing Skittles will be a house-cat by the end of the month.

Watching Skittles nervously play with CF’s fingers through the potted plants on the patio made me stop and breath and s l o w    d o w n.  Suddenly the to-do list didn’t seem so urgent.  I watched Skittles’ playful paws a while longer before gathering a basket and some scissors to head out to the garden.  When I turned to head to the garden, I saw something else that made me pause.  Deer.

Not one deer, but three.  Two adult does and one adolescent (not a spotted fawn anymore, but noticeably smaller than the does).  They were crossing the lawn a good 50 feet away from me, but one had stopped and was looking right at me.  Trying to decide if I was a threat.  Eventually, I guess she decided I was because she ran off; the other two soon followed.

Why is it that a brief moment with nature makes the busy-ness of our daily lives seem so insignificant?  Sure, I went back to my to-do list, gathered food and flowers from the garden, made dinner, cleaned up, and went to bed exhausted.  But that quiet moment sharing a stare with that doe stayed with me the rest of the evening.  Everything felt less urgent.  I was reminded of peace and of my desire to be present.  To live in the moment.

Now, when I go to my mother-in-law’s and see Skittles nestled up on a dining room chair, I remember Sunday afternoon–the little orange paws nervous and playful, the deer stock-still waiting to bolt, and my empty basket held loose in my hands.

The basket will always get filled.  The to-do list will eventually get done.  But what’s the point if we don’t stop, breath, quiet ourselves and our busy minds, and remember that every moment is a gift?

About Cathy G Gilbert

I am veggie-loving, community college professor who lives, teaches, and writes in Central IL.
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